Milverton Bridge Group started in the 1990’s. Although before that, groups of four were getting together in their houses to play ‘kitchen’ or maybe ‘drawing room’ bridge. No doubt with a cheap bottle of plonk or maybe a flute of champagne by their side.
In or about 1993 a local physiotherapist called Patricia Hennah, or Trish to her many friends retired. And, looking for something to occupy her fertile mind, decided she would learn to play bridge. So Trish and her friend Yvonne Hutchins travelled to Taunton for lessons at SCAT, Somerset College of Arts and Technology. They soon got hooked on the game and, after completing the course, started the first bridge group in Milverton. They also received invaluable advice from Joe Moon and his wife Wenda, who lived at the top of Wood Street and were already accomplished players.
The group’s first venue was in the basement of St Michael’s Rooms at the top of Parsonage Lane. However, it wasn’t long before the group’s popularity grew and they moved up to the main hall, on the ground floor of the building. The group remained there until the premises was sold and converted into a house, now known as Felton Hall.
The group reformed in the Community Room, situated behind the Victoria Rooms, which was initially free but when they started to charge rent they moved from there to the cricket club in Butts Way. However, they soon found that the television running in the background was ruining their concentration. So in or about 2015 they moved again. First to the Methodist Chapel in Silver Street and from there to the Victoria Rooms in Fore Street, where they still meet every Wednesday, from 2pm to 5pm.
From their humble beginnings in St Michael’s Rooms their membership grew to a heady 24 plus and they regularly fielded 6 tables in the Victoria Rooms to accommodate them. It was around this time that Sylvia Hutchinson joined the group. Sylvia and her husband Peter, had recently returned to Milverton having worked for many years in various parts of Africa. Sylvia and Trish joined forces and continued to run the group together. Sadly these heady numbers declined slightly over time. However there has recently been a resurgence of both chess and bridge. No doubt this has been partly due to the film ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ which, around the time of its release, saw new members join to swell the ranks again.
In 2009 Milverton Bridge Group hosted a bridge tournament and combined it with a fundraising lunch for Cancer Research. It also helped fund two lads from Milverton run the London marathon. Trish and Sylvia organised the charity lunch and Paul Wickham from Fitzhead helped to organise the competition. Other local Bridge Clubs supported the event and sixteen tables where played. The overall winners on the day were Peter Hutchinson and Chris Greenhow, both from Milverton. ‘They played together, in an old fashioned way, which left their opponents astounded’ said an undisclosed source. The event was a huge success and raised a staggering £500.
Bridge is now played all over the world, in over 50 countries and by people of all classes and ages.
If you have played bridge before and would like to join the Milverton Bridge Group, or have not but would like to learn, our contact details are shown below.
But be warned, bridge is a very compulsive game and, it has been said, can be more addictive than either alcohol or drugs.
Read about the history of Bridge.